Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
A small portion of strawberries might be good for us, but what about our little furry friends? Do they provide the same kind of health benefits to our Shih Tzus?
As the warmer months roll around and the strawberries come out, it’s a surprisingly common question, so let’s address everything you need to know below.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Shih Tzus and strawberries.
Are Strawberries Safe for Shih Tzus?
The good news is that strawberries are safe for Shih Tzus to eat, as long as they’re given in moderation.
These delicious red fruits can actually provide some health benefits to our four-legged friends.
However, there are some important factors to consider before offering strawberries to your Shih Tzu.
Health Benefits of Strawberries for Shih Tzus
Strawberries are packed with nutrients that can provide some health benefits for Shih Tzus. Here’s what makes strawberries a healthy treat:
- Vitamins: Strawberries are rich in vitamins C and K, which are essential for your Shih Tzu’s immune system and blood clotting, respectively.
- Antioxidants: These fruits are loaded with antioxidants that can help protect your Shih Tzu’s cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Fiber: Strawberries contain a good amount of fiber, which can aid in digestion and help prevent constipation.
Preparing Strawberries for Your Shih Tzu
To ensure that your Shih Tzu enjoys strawberries safely, follow these steps:
- Wash the strawberries thoroughly: Make sure to remove any dirt, pesticides, or bacteria that might be present on the fruit’s surface.
- Remove the green leaves and stem: Although not toxic, the leaves and stem can be a choking hazard, so it’s best to remove them before serving.
- Cut the strawberries into small pieces: This will make it easier for your Shih Tzu to chew and digest the fruit, reducing the risk of choking.
How Many Strawberries Can a Shih Tzu Eat?
While strawberries are safe for Shih Tzus, moderation is key. Giving your Shih Tzu too many strawberries can lead to an upset stomach or other issues.
As a general rule of thumb, one or two small strawberry pieces per day should be enough for a Shih Tzu.
Keep in mind that every dog is different, so it’s important to observe how your pet reacts to strawberries and adjust the serving size accordingly.
Potential Risks of Feeding Strawberries to Shih Tzus
Although strawberries are generally safe for Shih Tzus, there are some potential risks to be aware of:
- Choking hazard: Whole strawberries or large pieces can pose a choking hazard, especially for small breeds like Shih Tzus. Always cut strawberries into small pieces before offering them to your dog.
- Sugar content: Strawberries contain natural sugars, which can be harmful to your Shih Tzu’s teeth and overall health if consumed in large quantities. Stick to the recommended serving size to avoid any issues.
- Pesticides: Non-organic strawberries may contain pesticide residue that can be harmful to your Shih Tzu. Opt for organic strawberries or wash them thoroughly before serving.
Alternatives to Strawberries
If you’re looking for other safe fruit options to offer your Shih Tzu, here are some alternatives to consider:
- Blueberries: These small berries are packed with antioxidants and provide a similar texture to strawberries.
- Apples: Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Just make sure to remove the core and seeds before serving, as they can be toxic to dogs.
- Bananas: Rich in potassium and vitamins C and B6, bananas can be a tasty treat for your Shih Tzu. However, due to their high sugar content, only offer small amounts occasionally.
- Watermelon: This hydrating fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium. Make sure to remove the seeds and rind before giving it to your Shih Tzu.
Foods to Avoid for Shih Tzus
While some fruits are safe for Shih Tzus to eat, there are other foods that can be toxic or harmful to your pet. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), some of the most common toxic foods for dogs include:
- Grapes and raisins: These fruits can cause kidney failure in dogs, even in small quantities.
- Onions and garlic: Members of the Allium family are toxic to dogs and can lead to anemia and other health issues.
- Chocolate: The theobromine found in chocolate is toxic to dogs and can cause severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures.
- Avocado: Avocado contains persin, a toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
Always consult your veterinarian or consult reputable sources like PetMD before introducing new foods to your Shih Tzu’s diet.
What Do Experts Say?
Veterinarians and pet nutrition experts agree that strawberries can be a safe and healthy treat for Shih Tzus when given in moderation.
Dr. Jerry Klein, the AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, states that strawberries are a “nutritious, low-calorie treat for dogs.” However, he also advises monitoring your pet for any adverse reactions and adjusting the serving size accordingly.
Similarly, VCA Hospitals emphasize the importance of a well-balanced diet for your Shih Tzu, with fruits and vegetables making up only a small portion of their overall nutrition.
In conclusion, Shih Tzus can safely enjoy strawberries as a treat, provided they are given in moderation and properly prepared.
Strawberries offer some health benefits, such as vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks, like choking hazards, sugar content, and pesticide exposure.
Always consult your veterinarian or other pet experts before introducing new foods into your Shih Tzu’s diet, and closely monitor your pet for any adverse reactions. Remember, a well-balanced diet is key to keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy.